Thursday, April 7, 2011

Be Kind, Rewind: The VHS Reviews ~ Sawbones (1995)

a.k.a. Prescription For Murder
"The hands of a surgeon... the soul of a madman"

Synopsis: Constantly put down by her medical student boyfriend, Brad (Nicholas Sadler, "Sometimes They Come Back") for being unfocused, hospital admissions secretary Jennie Sloan (Nina Siemaszko, "Lost Angels") decides to focus her energies on crimesolving after she discovers a mutilated corpse in an alley. The deceased woman is one of a string of victims slain by Willy Knapp (Don Harvey, "Creepshow 2"), a rejected med school candidate. Unable to match the brilliance of his late surgeon father, psychotic Willy makes barbaric surgery his hobby. Pressured to put an end to these brutal murders, police detective Burt Miller (Adam Baldwin, "Full Metal Jacket") prevails upon Jennie to provide hospital and med school information which he believes will help him identify the killer. 

My Thoughts: This Roger Corman produced slasher will always be considered a rip-off of 1992's Dr. Giggles, there's just no way around it. As a matter of fact, a couple changes in the script and this could have easily been the direct-to-video sequel of that film.

I'll be the first to admit that this film is far from perfect. As with all of Corman's movies, it was made on a limited budget. He hired on a fairly inexperienced director, Catherine Cyran (writer/producer of Slumber Party Massacre III) and while I wouldn't exactly say she did a bad job, she did give the movie that annoying Lifetime TV-movie feel. The acting wasn't the greatest either. Nina Siemaszko, although cute as hell, has never been mistaken for a good actress and Adam Baldwin mumbled most of his lines and seemed to be just going through the motions.

On the other hand, for a slasher flick that was made during the dark days of horror (late 80's-mid 90's) it had it's moments. Don Harvey is no Larry Drake (Dr. Giggles), but his portrayal of the delusional Willy Knapp is so insane it had make cracking up almost the entire movie. I was also really surprised with the amount of gore during the surgury/murder scenes, an element that was clearly missing from Dr. Giggles.

My Rating: 6.5 / 10

Sawbones is a lot of fun and worth a watch. Think of it as a lower budget Dr. Giggles that's way more deserving of an R-rating. You probably won't be seeing this one pop up on Netflix instant any time soon. Fortunately, unlike a lot of out-of-print movies, a used VHS copy of this will only run you a little over a buck (check for it on My advice, get the old beat-up VCR out of the garage and pick up a copy.

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